Building your Leadership Team
Building a leadership team for your pro-life club can seem like a daunting task at first. The TWU Students for Life team has done a great job at developing a strong and active leadership and we asked their outgoing club president, Joanna Krawczynski, to share some of her wisdom with you.
And don’t forget that your NCLN staff members are here to help train and coach you as you lead your club! NCLN’s Western office, which happens to be located in Langley B.C. as well, has been able to work a lot with the club at TWU and it’s been exciting to see the fruits of that relationship.
Note: Trinity Western University is a Christian university, which changes the context in which the club operates.
This post is part of a series that highlights the efforts, strategies and accomplishments of clubs across Canada. If there is something your club might like to share with the Pro-Life Student Movement of Canada, email email@example.com
As TWUSFL president, what part of your role excites you the most?
The team. I get to hang out with some of the most inspiring and talented people on campus.
What are your greatest challenges as a president?
Self-confidence. It’s ironic that I would be my biggest challenge, but I’ve noticed that if I’m feeling down or fearful during a meeting, my team picks up on those feelings and reflects my discouragement. Discouragement, to say the least, is very counterproductive.
Your club meets on a weekly basis. What fruits have you seen from this commitment?
Number one: commitment! Simply put, how things work at TWU, those who do not show up to meetings are not active on campus. Those who make the meetings are more easily roped into volunteering for things :). Also, delegation is a bit easier face-to-face. Another benefit to weekly meetings is the opportunity for team-building so that team members see each other not just as yoke-fellows but as friends: that’s the ideal. Further, weekly meetings serve to keep our focus clear, serving as a consistent reminder of who we are and what (or who) we stand for.
Again, this comes back to commitment: weekly meetings are a reminder that being pro-life doesn’t just happen once a year. If we want real change, we need pro-life work to be built into our regular schedules. For us, weekly meetings have also been a great opportunity to challenge, encourage, and refresh team members. It’s good to come together and realize – oh yeah, I’m not alone on the frontlines.
What does a club meeting agenda usually look like?
- Welcome and prayer
- Checking in with team members on a personal level: this usually involves a creative activity, like a round of telephone pictionary to share weekend stories or having members choose a random office supply to describe how they are feeling. (~15 min.)
- Club updates or a brief discussion of relevant current events (~10 min.)
- Debrief of recent event, preparation for an upcoming event, or brainstorming of a new event (~20 min.)
- Flexible space for questions or comments: allowing team members to share ideas or concerns that they’ve been wrestling with (eg. Had a difficult conversation with a friend that didn’t go over very well – what could I have done?). (~10 min.)
- Closing activity/thought/video, if time permits, depending on what team members need most: if the team is feeling disillusioned, maybe a motivational quote is in order. If team members are getting caught up in school stresses, a gentle challenge by way of a video is helpful. (~5 min.)
- Sharing prayer requests and closing with prayer
Also, food is always appreciated, at any point during the meeting – even little, relatively inexpensive snacks like a bag of oranges or chocolate-covered nuts, unless you’ve got allergies.
In what ways do you foster good relationships among your team members?
Probably first and foremost by setting an example of deep respect for others which sets the tone of the meeting. Also, some of my team members don’t see each other outside team meetings, so it is important to provide space in team meetings for genuine relationships to be built (eg. by establishing prayer partners). I’d also like to incorporate off-campus club events, such as a team brunch or dessert night, into our schedules: this would also facilitate relationship-building, as we can build friendships that are not dependent on weekly meetings.
If you could give one tip to other pro-life club presidents, what would it be?
Have the courage to be humble. One article explains that having true humility is not being trampled like an old rug: rather, being humble means being unafraid to share truth or to spend time with those who are not quite your type: you aren’t worried about souring your reputation. Being humble means to persevere, to keep on keeping on, even though you know you can’t save lives with only your own two arms. This can be frustrating, realizing that you can’t do it all yourself, but sometimes feeling very alone.
But you are not doing this alone. You are part of a team: being courageously humble also means asking for help when you need help. Don’t let angry people extinguish your courage or the courage of your teammates. Invest in each member (eg. take time to write interesting emails, ask them how they’re doing, check in with them if you haven’t seen them for a while). Courage can be highly contagious. Use that to your advantage. And know that, over here at TWU, we’re praying for you and your teams. Stand firm!
Thank you, Joanna, for your genuine dedication to the pro-life movement and your investment in your club members at TWU. You are truly forming leaders by your own beautiful example of leadership!